The Basics

Preparing to be a veterinarian does not happen overnight. Most people know that it is important to have strong grades, but just as important is gaining experience to develop the skills, knowledge, and maturity necessary to be an effective healthcare provider. A veterinarian’s decisions and actions affect animal life and well-being. Veterinarians must pay attention to detail, have high ethical standards, communicate well with their patients’ owners and other healthcare providers, maintain reliable records, and be knowledgeable about existing and new medical treatments to ensure each patient has optimal results.

Knowledge of Self and Profession

Throughout the application process, you will need to demonstrate knowledge of yourself (values, goals, motivations, strengths, weaknesses), an understanding of the profession, and a commitment to become a veterinarian. You must clearly articulate your readiness to enter the profession as a result of first-hand experience in the field. There should be evidence in your application that you are committed to service and helping others. You must demonstrate your ability to work on a team, to lead, and to communicate with people with different backgrounds, values, and perspectives from your own.

Major and GPA

And finally, there is no “best major” for pre-veterinary medicine students. You can choose ANY major and be successful in your application to medical school. Admissions personnel will review your GPA from a variety of perspectives…cumulative GPA, science/math GPA, prerequisite GPA. Choose a major that you will enjoy and allows you to successfully complete the required and recommended courses while also gaining experience outside the classroom. Consider a major that will provide many career options, recognizing that students commonly change majors and career plans multiple times as they learn about themselves and their career options.

Prerequisite Courses

Category Prerequisite Area Minimum Recommendation Course Numbers
Biological Sciences General Biology 2 Lectures and 2 Labs MCB 150/MCB 151, IB 150/IB 151 (upper level labs may substitute)
Microbiology 1 Lecture and 1 Lab MCB 100/MCB 101 OR MBC 300/MCB 301
Genetics 1 Lecture and 1 Lab MCB 250/MCB 251 OR IB 204
Physical Sciences Physics 2 Lectures and 2 Labs PHY 101, PHY 102
Chemistry 2 Lectures and 2 Labs CHEM 102/CHEM 103, CHEM 104/CHEM 105
Organic Chemistry 2 Lectures and 1 Lab CHEM 232/CHEM 233, CHEM 332 (may substitute Biochemistry for 2nd semester of Organic Chem)
Biochemistry 1 Lecture MCB 354, MCB 450
Mathematics/Statistics Statistics & Calculus 2 Lectures STAT 100 or PSYC 235 or CHLH 244, MATH 220
Communication Written 2 Lectures Composition I, Advanced Composition
Communication Oral 1 Lecture CMN 101
Additional Prerequisites Varies by program ~ May include nutrition, humanities, anatomy, physiology